UCF's streak ends at 25, so is it one for the history books?
UCF's winning streak, which stretched across two seasons, came to an end on New Year's Day with a 40-32 loss to No. 11 LSU in the Fiesta Bowl. For the Knights (12-1), it marked their first loss since falling to Arkansas State 31-13 in the AutoNation Cure Bowl on Dec. 17, 2016. Since that loss, UCF had rattled off 25 straight wins, including a victory over Auburn in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl to cap off 2017's perfect 13-0 campaign, while claiming back-to-back American Athletic Conference (AAC) titles.
So with the streak over, most college football fans outside of the Orlando region will soon forget this streak. But to UCF's credit, it came just one victory shy of being listed among the longest in the sport's history.
Many teams have reeled off streaks that lasted more than 20 games and kept us wondering when they would end. Here are the greatest streaks that have taken place since 1950.
26: Nebraska (1994-96)
The Cornhuskers went undefeated during the 1993 regular season but lost to Florida State in the Orange Bowl. They were perfect during the next two seasons and won back-to-back national championships. Nebraska entered the 1996 season ranked No. 1, but its streak ended with a 19-0 upset by a Jake Plummer-led Arizona State squad.
26: Alabama (2015-17)
In the era of the College Football Playoff, a team does not even need a perfect season to have a 26-game winning streak. The Tide lost to Ole Miss in the third game of the 2015 season, but won the rest of their games, made the playoff, and beat Clemson to earn the national title. They then won their first 14 games of 2016 but were beaten in the final seconds by Clemson in the national championship game.
28: Oklahoma (1973-75)
If not for a 7-7 tie with USC in the second game of the 1973 season, the Sooners' streak would have actually been 37 games. Banned from bowls and television, Oklahoma went 10-0-1 in 1973 and 11-0 in '74, winning the national title. The Sooners won their first eight games in 1975 but turned the ball over eight times against Kansas in a 23-3 loss. They rebounded to win their final three games and second straight national title.
28: Alabama (1978-80)
Alabama won the last two of Bear Bryant’s six national championships with an 11-1 season in 1978 (the only blemish being a 24-14 loss to USC in the third game) and a 12-0 season in '79. The Tide won their first games of the 1980 season and held the No. 1 ranking, but were upset by Mississippi State 6-3.
28: Michigan State (1950-53)
After losing to Maryland 34-7 in the third game of the 1950 season, the Spartans did not lose again until the fifth game of '53. Along the way, they won two national titles and joined the Big Ten.
29: Miami (1990-93)
The Hurricanes lost to Notre Dame in the sixth week of the 1990 season but won their remaining six games, including a 46-3 blowout of Texas in the Cotton Bowl. They were perfect the next season and won the national title. Miami then went 11-0 during the 1992 regular season but was throttled by Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day.
29: Florida State (2012-14)
The Seminoles’ streak began with a 21-15 win over Georgia Tech in the 2012 ACC Championship Game. The next year, eventual Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston led the team to a perfect season and the last BCS national title. Florida State was much sloppier the next season, but still went undefeated and won the ACC title again. Then in the first College Football Playoff game ever played, Oregon blew out the 'Noles 59-20.
30: Texas (1968-71)
The Longhorns tied Houston and lost to Texas Tech to open the 1968 season, but won their final nine games. Texas rode its wishbone offense to an undefeated regular season and a national championship the next year. They were perfect again during the 1970 regular season and won a share of the national title (The Coaches Poll still awarded it before the bowl games). However, the streak ended at 30 with a loss to Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl.
34: USC (2003-06)
This run, which lasted from the fifth game of the 2003 season to the epic 2006 Rose Bowl, is not in the record books because most of the wins were vacated because of NCAA violations. Nevertheless, this streak still happened, and we were all glued to our seats.
34: Miami (2000-03)
Miami lost to Washington the second week of the 2000 season and would not lose again until falling to Ohio State in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. Of course, the outcome of that game hinged on a controversial pass interference call that went against Hurricanes in overtime. Had that flag not been thrown, Miami’s streak would have been 42 games.
35: Toledo (1968-71)
This may be the most forgotten streak on this list. The Rockets put together three straight perfect seasons before losing the opening game of the 1972 season. Despite this success, they never even cracked the top 10 in the AP Poll.
47: Oklahoma (1953-57)
This streak becomes more and more mythicized with each passing year. Over a five-season span, the Sooners won 47 straight games and two national titles. No other team has come anywhere close to threatening Oklahoma’s record streak.
— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.
(Top photo courtesy of UCF Athletics)